Challenges & Blessings

If you know me at all, you know that I don’t cook … especially on the weekends. So eating out most meals on the weekend has become a habit. A habit that is about to dramatically change. Our 18-month-old, Jack, is getting to the age where it is difficult to go out to eat with him. Sunday was a perfect example. 

One of my favorite burger places opened a new location in our town, and I was super excited. We decided to try it out on Sunday after church … our first mistake for two reasons:

  1. The restaurant had only been open a couple of weeks and apparently everyone had the very same idea we did. It was packed!
  2. Sunday lunch is not Jack’s best time. He’s hungry, exhausted, and ready for a nap. (In case you are wondering why we don’t head straight home for this reason, we eat somewhere close to church to ensure Jack gets lunch before falling asleep on the way home.)

112_eating-out.jpgWhen we saw the crowd, we were tempted to turn around and head somewhere else, but I was determined we were going to make it work. I really wanted that burger! The trouble started when we realized there were no available high chairs. We tried just having him sit in a big chair and on our laps with no success. Luckily, by the time our food arrived, a high chair became available. However, by that time, Jack had reached his limit. He began screaming and pointing at random things on the table. I would offer him the things he was pointing at (his drink, a bite of his lunch, etc.), but nothing seemed to help. He just kept screaming and randomly pointing. We tried to calm him down for what seemed like an eternity. (Luckily, it’s a very loud restaurant so I’m thinking we didn’t disturb those around us too terribly much.) I was getting ready to make a quick exit if necessary. Finally … in an act of desperation, I offered Jack a french fry! (I know, I know … a terrible choice … but like I said … I was desperate!) That apparently was what he had wanted all along. (Not sure why that didn’t occur to me earlier. I guess I was in denial … only offering him the better choices.)  We were able to speed through the rest of our lunch offering Jack a steady supply of french fries!

So … what exactly did I take away from this experience? As a parent embarking on this new phase of toddlerhood, I am reminded of how each new phase has its unique challenges but also its many blessings. We may not be able to eat out as often as we used to, but it is amazing to watch Jack as he learns new things every day and is beginning to show so much personality! I’m also amazed at how sacrificies (such as not eating out, being too tired to stay up late, and not getting to sleep in) don’t really feel like sacrifices in light of the tremendous blessing that our little man is! It makes me hesitant and excited all at the same time to see what each new phase of Jack’s life brings!

What are the challenges and blessings that you are facing in your child’s particular phase of development? Share your thoughts with us.